MO - St. Louis

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Live Yes! Connect launched: 2016

Live Yes! Connect Facilitator: Jessi                      Type of Arthritis: Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia & Osteoarthritis

Live Yes! Connect Facilitator: Kristina                  Type of Arthritis: Osteoarthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis & Fibromyalgia

About this Live Yes! Connect Group:     

Our vision for this Live Yes! Connect group is to provide a welcoming, fun and supportive network to those living with Arthritis and Rheumatic conditions in the St. Louis area.  A goal of ours is for this support network is to foster an environment where my group participants come out of every meeting feeling understood and empowered.  We want to help people get support, information, and education. The more we know and better equipped we are, the better we can advocate for ourselves and manage a chronic illness. Bringing people together is a huge component in thriving with arthritis, so in that case, let’s have some fun and get to know each other!

About: Jessi

Jessi is a wife, a mother of two, a full time professional, and a dedicated Arthritis Foundation volunteer and advocate living with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and disc degenerative disease. Since her diagnosis in 2014, Jessi has committed herself to raising awareness and helping others living with rheumatic conditions.

Jessi was chosen as the adult honoree for the 2017 Walk to Cure Arthritis St. Louis. She also served on the 2017 Jingle Bell Run Committee. In 2018, she was awarded the Arthritis Foundation's Heartland Region Leon Neuman Distinguished Service Award. She also began serving on the Local Leadership Board as the Live Yes! Network Leader. Jessi fundraises throughout the year and has been a top fundraiser three years in a row. Her fundraising efforts have totaled over $10,000 since 2016. In January of 2017, Jessi began the first St. Louis Arthritis Support Network which continues today as Live Yes! Connect.

Jessi travels to the annual conference each year which offers her the opportunity to grow as a facilitator, guiding her passion in helping others live their best life with arthritis. Jessi is continually inspired and empowered by the strength, resolve and resiliency of the arthritis community.

Jessi was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2014 and Fibromyalgia in May of 2016. Prior to the onset of RA, I was very active. I loved the outdoors, camping, hiking, traveling, exploring. RA changed all of that very quickly. It seems as if overnight, I went from being a participant to a spectator. To cope with my new reality, I was determined to educate myself. I've read every book, blog, study, and medical journal you can imagine. I found a Rheumatologist I was comfortable with. He and I have discovered a concoction of medications that are helping me to lead a more active lifestyle. All of the knowledge and medication in the world, however, couldn't help me handle the emotional aspect of living with a chronic illness. I am learning to accept and love the new me a little more every day.

Jessi couldn't possibly be more grateful for the opportunity to be a facilitator. I am looking forward to developing a group of friends who learn from one another, support each other and have a whole lot of fun!

About: Kristina

My name is Kristina. I am 52 years young... Ouch!!! I am married to my wonderful husband Leon and I have the most amazing and I think perfect 16-year-old son named Ian.

I have been a personal trainer/health coach for 35 years. So, I am well aware of the importance that health and fitness plays in treating rheumatoid, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, psoriatic arthritis, spinal stenosis, fibromyalgia & more. Part of my background is that of a Corrective Exercise Specialist which means I have extensive experience working with special populations. I have trained and helped several clients with such a debilitating conditions.

Flashback to summer last year. I was on top of the world. Helping people improve the quality of life has got to be the most rewarding reason for my career choice. Not only do I love my work, I also compete in the NPC ( National Physique Committee). I'd like to push myself and see what I can do to better improve my health, physical, and psyche. Through my competitions, I am able to inspire others younger, older, with condition, et al

I was going to compete in a national level competition and helps to when my IFBB (International Federation of Body Builders). But my body had other ideas. I have already had my left and right hips replaced. But my left hip started giving me a tremendous amount of pain. My back also has osteoarthritis above and below A spinal fusion at my T11-T-12 vertebra.

In December I had the nerves in my lower lumbar burned so that they may brow back healthy and stronger. In January I made the decision to get my left hip revised which is an extraordinarily extend I in January I made the decision to get my left hip revised which is an extraordinarily extensive surgery. My surgery was set for Friday, April 13 - no joke. The day prior to my surgery I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and psoriatic arthritis. The surgery was a success. My surgeon was brilliant. I had to stay home bound for six weeks. During that time, I did a lot of fund-raising for the Walk to during that time I did a lot of fund-raising for Cure Arthritis. And I absolutely fell in love with the Arthritis Foundation. The ladies in the St. Louis office has welcomed me with open arms. And I plan for it to be a long and lasting relationship.

I am facilitating this group with Jessi while I am a personal trainer/coach and athlete I too live with from osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and fibromyalgia. Although I may have these diagnoses, it will not define me, control me or defeat me.

I would like to be a beacon or an inspiration to others to keep going and to strive for a better life regardless of our conditions. I believe I can bring a positive attitude & environment to those who need such. I have a background and the resources to help and encourage and enrich our community.


To join this Live Yes! Connect Group please click the "Join this Group” button above and we will send you updates about upcoming events via email. 

Meeting Location and Times: 

Head over to the Calendar of Events to RSVP your attendance.

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Jessi & Kristina's picture
Jessi & Kristina


Live Yes! Arthritis Network provides personalized help and support to Adults living with all types of arthritis and rheumatic conditions and Parents /Guardians of children living with arthritis. Our programs offer opportunities for connection, education and empowerment via Live Yes! Connect Groups, Online Community and Conferences.

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